1. About Santiago
2. General information
3. Transport
4. Money exchange & credit cards
5. Tourist Information (SERNATUR)
6. Hotels
7. Historical Santiago
8. Cultural & artistic Santiago
9. Natural Santiago
10. Shopping in Santiago
11. Gastronomical Santiago
12. Santiago: a city for incentive trips,
meetings & congresses
13. Santiago & outskirts
14. Vineyards
15. Ski resorts

About Santiago

The majestic Andean Mountain Range can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. Due to its geographic location, Santiago is one of the few capital cities in the world which has easy access both to ski slopes -just 50 km away-, and beaches, 100 km away. It is in fact possible to visit the modern ski resorts as well as the famous beach resort of Viña del Mar or picturesque Valparaiso, Chile's main port, in just one day. Numerous villages located in the countryside around Santiago invite the visitor to relax and enjoy the peace and tranquility of countrylife. Tourists may also visit the vineyards and try the delicious Chilean wines.

The Santa Lucia Hill in the city center is an important historic landmark. It was here, at the foot of this hill formerly known as the "Huelèn", that the Spanish Conquistador Pedro de Valdivia founded the city of Santiago on February 12th, 1541. He planned the city according to the traditional Spanish checkerboard layout which is still evident in the downtown area today. Today, the Plaza de Armas with its colorful gardens is very different to what it was many years ago but the buildings that surround it bring back many memories. The Metropolitan Cathedral, on the western side of the plaza, stands on the same spot where the first church in Santiago was once built; to the north are three important buildings: the Post Office, the National Museum of History and the Townhall of Santiago. In the days of the Republic, new central neighbourhoods -now traditional ones- were added on to the colonial Santiago of the 16th century. By the 1930s, modern Santiago, with its green areas and architecture had come into being. The growth and development which have taken place during the past years are evident in the facilities which the city offers the visitor.

New and comfortable hotels Located both in the center and on the eastern side of the city, have significantly increased Santiago's capacity to accommodate visitors as well as providing special facilities for congresses and conventions. Together with the development of tourist infrastructure, gastronomy in Chile has also taken on a new lease of life, both as regards the quality and the quantity of restaurants.

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General information

Santiago is located at 543 meters above sea level, in Chile's central zone, 2,051 kms. south of Arica, the country's northernmost city and 3,141 km. north of Punta Arenas, the southernmost city in the world. The Pacific Ocean is located a hundred kilometers away and the Andean Mountain Range. 40 km. 

  Warm with annual average temperature of 14.5°C (21°C in January, summer and 8.4°C in July. winter), with annual average rainfall of 346 mm. 
  The official language spoken is Spanish. In tourist companies and organizations the higher echelons speak English and/or French.
  Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport is located 17 kms. from Santiago downtown. There are bus and taxi services, which takes you to and from the airport.

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There is a SUBWAY that runs from east to west and north to south in the city as well as buses and taxis. The city is connected to the rest of the country by mean of:

  Lan Chile run regular daily flights There are also companies that run air taxi services. 
  Buses run to any part of the country. Bus terminals are located in: Los Heroes: Tucapel Jimenez 21; Santiago: Av. L. Bernardo O'Higgins 3800; Alameda: Av L Bernardo O'Higgins 3794.
  Trains run from Santiago to the south of the country. The Main Railway Station is located in Av. L. Bernardo O'Higgins 3322.

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Money exchange and credit cards

Money exchange can be done in banks, money exchange houses and main hotels Most major credit cards are accepted in shops, hotels and travel agencies. Banks are open Mondays to Fridays, from 9 am to 2pm. Money Exchange Houses have the same opening hours as shops.


Tourist Information SERNATUR (National Tourism Board)

Offices in the Airport and in Nro. 1550 Providencia. Tel. 2360531 Open: Mondays to Fridays 8.30 am to 6 30 pm and Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm

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Hotels - see Chile Hotels


Historical Santiago

DOWNTOWN, includes churches dating from the 17th and 18th centuries and buildings that were once the seat of important colonial institutions, as well as other important historic landmarks.

  • Santa Lucia Hill - National Library-Casa Colorada (Museum of Santiago
  • Stock Exchange
  • Club de la Union Building, La Moneda Palace (Government Headquarters) - Plaza de la Constitucion.
  • Plaza de Armas - Townhall of Santiago Real Audiencia Building (National Museum of History) Central Post Office Building
  • Royal Customs Building (Museum of pre-Columbian Art) - Former National Congress Building - Palace of Justice
  • Manso de Velasco`s House
  • Santo Domingo Temple
  • Central Market-Mapocho Station
  • San Francisco Church - Paris-Londres Neighbourhood - Catholic Univerty`s Main Campus-
               Traditional Neighbourhoods includes a tour through streets dating from the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, mansion houses built by well-to-do families reveal the influence of European culture. Racetrack
  • Diego de Almagro Plaza - Cousiño Palace - Chile Racetrac
  • Ejjército, República and España Avenues and Dieciocho, Vergara and Cienfuegos Streets - Main Railway Station

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Cultural and artistic Santiago

A visit to the museums, art galleries, handcraft centers and neighbourhoods with intense cultural and artistic activity will give the visitor an insight into the culture and traditions of the country and its people.

A few suggestions:

Museums in Santiago:

  • Colonial San Francisco
  • of Contemporary Art
  • of Decorative Art. A must.
  • of Popular American Art
  • of Pre-Columbian Art. A must.
  • of Fine Arts
  • of Santiago, "Casa Colorada"
  • of National History
  • "La Chascona", housewith final destination Puerto Montt of the poet Pablo Neruda
  • of Natural History
  • Municipal Theater - Plaza Mulato Gil de Castro with its art galleries and antique stores.
  • Bellavista district - Park of Sculptures
  • Providencia district (art galleries, cinemas and theater halls) - Cultural Institute of Providencia.
  • Artisan Village of Los Graneros del Alba - Los Dominicos Church -
  • Cultural Institute of Las Condes - Cultural Institute of La Reina.

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Natural Santiago

Green areas located throughout the different sectors give the city a fresh and natural touch.

  • Forestal Park, borders the south bank of the Mapocho River, west of Plaza Baquedano and has fine sculptures located throughout it
  • Metropolitan Park in the San Cristobal Hill: includes a zoo, two swimming pools, picnic areas, restaurants and Enoteca. It can be visited by car, cable car or teleferique.
  • Santa Lucia Hill, in the heart of the city.
  • Balmaceda Park, in the Las Condes district.
  • Araucano Park, in the Las Condes district.
  • Intercomunal Park of La Reina.
  • O'Higgins Park, located in the district of Santiago. Amongst its attractions is "El Pueblito": which resembles a typical Chilean country village.
  • Quinta Normal Park: 40 acres located in west Santiago.

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Shopping in Santiago

Shops are open Mondays to Fridays, from 10am to 8pm and from 10am to 2pm on Saturdays. Shopping Centers open Mondays to Sundays. from 10am to 9pm.

National and imported goods at reasonable prices are available in Santiago in some of the following areas:

  • Downtown, between Miraflores and Amunategui streets and Av. B. O'Higgins and Santo Domingo street.
  • Providencia Avenue, including chic boutiques on Suecia, General Holley, Los Leones, Ricardo Lyon streets, amongst others.
  • Shopping Centers: Panoramico, Apumanque and Parque Arauco, Alto Las Condes in the eastern area.
  • Plaza Vespucio, in the southern area.

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Gastronomical Santiago

Santiago's restaurants offer local cuisine based on seafood, fish, vegetables, and meat, as well as a variety of international specialities. Areas where most restaurants are located are:

  • Bellavista district.
  • El Bosque - Isidora Goyenechea area.
  • Providencia Suecia area
  • General Holley, also has elegant bars.
  • Paseo San Damián. Las Condes.

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Santiago the ideal city for incentive trips, meetings and congresses

Nowadays it is vital to have somewhere special where you can do business, arrange meetings and meet up with contacts. Santiago, like other cities in Chile -Viña del Mar, Arica, La Serena and Concepcioón- combines all the ideal characteristics: a pleasant climate, beautiful surroundings and first-class tourist facilities. Most major multinational companies, whether European, North American or Japanese, have offices and/ or representatives in Santiago. They have chosen Chile as their South American operational base because of the efficient services offered here.

A modern communications network via satelite -International Direct Dialing telephone system, fax and telex-offers permanent contact with other countries. A good highway system and a regular transport service connects Santiago with the rest of the country and the world. The International Airport receives over 100 regular flights a week from 20 different international and two national airlines. Chile's financial system is sophisticated and efficient, which explains why 22 foreign banks and 24 national banks operate in the country, supplying the corresponding facilities for financial operations. In Chile, those in charge of organizing conventions will find that the very best facilities and efficient backup systems are available to help them guarantee the success of every event.

The ideal place, where you can really enjoy doing business

Convention centers, numerous well-organized tourist facilities offering the efficient professional and friendly attention characteristic of the Chilean people, are determining factors when it comes to choosing the right meeting place. Due to its variety of tourist attractions, Chile is an ideal destination for incentive trips. As the main port of entry to the country, Santiago is the right place from which to start a visit, a fitting reward for hard work and professional achievement.

For a weekend of sun, snow and fun.

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Santiago and outskirts

Valparaiso and Viña del Mar. An excellent highway about a hundred kilometers long leads to the coast through the valleys of Curacavi and Casablanca. The countryside is beautiful and there are several typical Chilean restaurants serving good local food along the way. 

Viña del Mar, also known as the Garden City, has 300 thousand inhabitants and is the country's main beach resort. Located next to the Port of Valparaiso it has a good selection of hotels and a wide variety of restaurants, a Casino, cafes, discotheques and good shops. Visitors can go for a ride in a traditional horse-drawn "Victoria" and see the town with its wellkept gardens by the sea. The past and the present intermingle in this bustling tourist center.

Valparaiso, linked to Viña del Mar, is Chile's main port and also the site of the Chilean Congress.

The magnificent view from the numerous hills surrounding the bay of Valparaiso has long been a source of inspiration for both Chilean and foreign artists. It is undoubtedly worth going for a stroll around the picturesque fishing coves or taking one of the old-fashioned elevators up to the hills of Valparaiso with their multicolored houses and mansions dating from last century. "La Sebastiana", Pablo Neruda's museum-cum-house, recently opened to the public, is located on one of these hills. His most important housemuseum, which is filled with his collections, is in Isla Negra, Just an hour from Valparaiso, or an hour and a half from Santiago. As one of the most important ports in the Pacific Ocean, Valparaiso receives ships from all over the world. Here, they unload their cargos and load up again with Chilean goods destined for international markets.

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In the Maipo Valley, near the city of Santiago, lies one of the country's most important winegrowing areas. This region combines the three ideal conditions know internationally as the "trilogy" necessary to produce good wine: -climate -soil -vinestock.

Several vineyards are located in this area: The Concha y Toro vineyard in Pirque offers guided tours of the winery and the nearby village of Pirque with its beautiful countryside and mountain air and old haciendas with their stately manor houses. Other vineyards in the area open to the public are: Santa Rita, Santa Carolina and Cousiño Macul.

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Ski Resorts

The ski resorts, which can be reached by bus or car, are located less that an hour's drive from Santiago. Farellones, EI Colorado, La Parva and Valle Nevado are all situated on the slopes of the Andean mountains. From June to October these resorts, as well as others in Chile, are visited by both foreign and Chilean ski fanatics, because of the excellent slopes, good snow, nice weather and modern infrastructure.

Also near Santiago, but 145 kilometers northeast is Portillo with its traditional hotel of international fame, overlooking the beautiful Del Inca Lagoon.